DES MOINES, Iowa -- After seven years the Hy-Vee Classic, where all four Division I men’s basketball teams in Iowa come together for a night of in-state tension and bragging rights, is coming to an end.
“I think it’s uniquely Iowa, and it’s going to be sorely missed,” University of Northern Iowa alumnus and fan, Steve Steveson said.
“We don’t have that many things in Iowa where all these teams come together and play, so you know it’s one of those unfortunate things,” Scott Carlson, a Drake fan said.
But this four-way rivalry is much more than the seven year Hy-Vee Classic. It dates back more than a century with Iowa and Iowa State facing Drake and UNI a total of 338 times. The Cyclones and Hawkeyes have been playing the in-state mid-majors almost every year since the 1970s.
“It’s always fun to see all the big Iowa teams play and so it’s kinda sad that we’re never going to see them at one place at the same time playing again,” Drake fan Olivia Bauer said.
From the looks of it, we’re not going to see Drake and UNI play Iowa and Iowa State ever again, at least not for now. It's something that makes first year Drake Men’s Basketball Head Coach Darian DeVries upset.
“I’ve been fairly vocal about it. I grew up in Aplington, Iowa. I loved these games growing up as a kid. I followed all these games,” DeVries said.
So did Iowa State redshirt junior and Waukee native Michael Jacobson.
“I just think it was special because I came here, you know growing up, coming here with my family, and you know, my parents, my siblings, my uncle, my aunt, so we would all come down and come to the Big Four and watch it. So it meant a lot,” Jacobson said.
“To have them all do it within the state in a yearly basis is a big deal,” DeVries said. “It’s a big deal for basketball, and it’s a big deal for the people in this state who love to watch basketball. I’d love to see it come back.” But DeVries says it’s the nature of the beast, dictating schedules ending the beloved classic.
“There’s a business side of it too, and I think everybody respects that,” Iowa State Men’s Basketball Head Coach Steve Prohm said.
The Hawkeyes were officially the ones to bow out, breaking up the whole classic due to the Big Ten shifting up to 20 conference games a season.
“It makes me sad kind of. I like the rivalry games it means a lot to the community,” Iowa fan Brian Hartman said. “But I understand the Big Ten too. They have to look at the big picture at wanting to play teams more in the Big Ten.”
It hurts the strong mid-majors who need the opportunity against big teams to make a case for the NCAA Tournament come March.
“It gives them that stepping stone, that stage to present their talents to show what they are worth,” UNI fan Steve Russell said.
“It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it all comes down to money,” Drake fan Aaron Parrott said.